I had been to Lisbon before! It was a few years ago and I had met up with my youngest son who had joined me for a few days after his trip across Africa on a motorbike alone. So it was something I was really looking forward to though on the last day I was pickpocketed and had my bag stolen with passport, credit card, cash, phone and camera stolen! Had it not been for Hugh I am sure I would still be crying in the hotel room. He took me off to the police station to give a statement, arranged for me to get an emergency passport (I was flying home the following day!) and lectured me of course.
So with that in mind we arrived in gorgeous Libson and were happy with our centrally located hotel in the heart of the city. Off on an orientation walk I held onto my (new) backpack tightly. We were warned about pickpockets in many large cities….Athens, Barcelona, Paris….
However, we were determined to enjoy the last days of out trip. Trying the best Portuguese tarts, riding the No 28 tram which covers ten kilometers of some of the cities main attractions on the way, visiting the Time Out market which is one of the cities most popular venues for good food. But we were headed out for a taste of the highly alcoholic sour cherry brandy called ‘ginya’ on route to listening to fado, a genre of Portuguese soul music which originated in Africa and as evolved to the streets of Lisbon. The musical accompaniment was an unusual looking guitar which provided an amazing but almost eerie sound. It was very entertaining though the words were sung in Portuguese.
And as boring as it sounds it was time for me to find a laundromat close by to the hotel to attend to some much needed clean clothes. There was only one other person there at the time. He looked like a young backpacker and I started chatting with him only to discover he lived in the next suburb to where my family did in Sydney. And even more interesting he went to the same high school as my sons and where I worked. He said ‘ I thought you looked familiar but thought it couldn’t be.’ Though perhaps a more interesting coincidence occurred in Greece but that will come later!
For me it was a 3am wake up call for an early taxi ride to the airport for a flight from Lisbon to Athens via Brussels. Just one of the ten flights for my month in Europe from Australia.